The Happy People Program: a pilot study of a multimedia program for customer-facing employees

T. Jones, A.-L. Bouvier, C. Dean

    Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


    Background: The impact of stress is now being recognised as a major issue within the workplace with significant costs for organisations, individuals and families. Stress is associated with fatigue, as well as impacting the immune system, chronic pain and other musculoskeletal disorders. It is related to poorer workplace relations, lower productivity, and an increase in customer complaints. Customer facing employment sectors, including retail, rate highest in the number of stress­related claims made by employees in Australia. The Happy People program is an innovative and interactive 4­ week multimedia application that aims to provide employees with strategies around managing their mood, energy, stress and sleep both at home and at work.
    Purpose: This study aimed to answer the following questions: (1) What characteristics do employees performing customer­ facing duties within the retail sector in Australia report in regards to levels of energy and activity, sleep, stress, and emotional intelligence in regards to their customers? (2) Do these employees engage in the Happy People program? (3) Do these employees find the program delivers useful strategies for managing health and wellbeing in the workplace and at home?
    Methods: A pilot study of the Happy People program was conducted throughout the retail outlets nationally of a major telecommunications company in Australia. Anonymous data were collected via brief pre­ and post­program surveys on 482 and 360 participants respectively, with application engagement data from over 1100 participants captured using background analytical software.
    Results: Over 77% of participants were aged under 30 years. Less than 17% reported meeting physical activity guidelines. Over 40% reported often feeling tired or exhausted. Common physical complaints reported were back pain (43%), headaches (41%) and neck tension (38%). Sleep was commonly disturbed by worries about personal issues (65%), work (51%) and finances (45%). Over 26% reported feeling overwhelmed with stress at time, and 5% most of the time. Higher stress was associated with increased physical complaints, particularly headaches (rs = .391, p=.000), and difficulty in managing customers (rs = .303, p=.000). Engagement levels in the program were high, with 72% of participants reporting that the program helped them improve their overall health and wellbeing, including strategies for managing stress (63%), sleep (68%), physical complaints (56%) and managing upset customers (69%).
    Conclusions: Retail employees, despite being young in age, are experiencing high levels of stress, sleep disturbance and physical complaints that impact on them at work and at home. A brief, interactive multimedia application, Happy People, was engaging and well received, with participants learning strategies for improving health and wellbeing.
    Implications: Young retail employees may experience high levels of stress, which is associated with higher numbers of physical complaints and difficulty in managing challenges in the workplace, such as upset customers. A brief interactive multimedia program, Happy People, was well received by retail employees and presents an opportunity to raise awareness of these issues within the workplace and assist in providing simple strategies aimed at improving overall health and wellbeing at work and at home.
    Original languageEnglish
    Number of pages1
    Publication statusPublished - 4 Jul 2017
    EventWorld Confederation of Physical Therapy Congress 2017 - Cape Town, South Africa
    Duration: 2 Jul 20174 Jul 2017


    ConferenceWorld Confederation of Physical Therapy Congress 2017
    Country/TerritorySouth Africa
    CityCape Town


    • stress
    • sleep
    • multimedia application


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